It is hard to believe that Instagram is only 10 years old, especially now it has over one billion active monthly users. After Facebook’s acquisition in 2012, it began to rocket, hitting a billion users by 2018. In short, Instagram is big and it’s getting bigger. Facebook itself has stagnated at two billion active monthly users (to get any more it would need to make ventures into the third world), but with Instagram, that surplus billion is up for grabs. Therefore, a presence on Instagram can be extremely influential. If you are a brand, business or budding influencer, then gaining followers can be extremely important, and doing it now can be a worthwhile investment for the future.
There are many ways you can get free Instagram followers, and this article will cover most of them. However, it is important to remember that engagement is the most important goal here and is exactly what to aim for if you’re looking for the most effective and fastest follower growth.
Likes, Follows & Comments
The first thing you can do to grow your follower count is to like as many posts as possible. And also, to follow as many people as possible, and comment. This is clear: each like, comment and follow acts as a small advertisement. But most people do this at random, and get frustrated when they see no return, often simply liking big brands and commenting on the most famous posts they can see.
The true value of this method lies in finding relevant hashtags, and up-and-coming accounts. A comment on a post by Cristiano Ronaldo (currently the most followed account, bar the Instagram page itself) for example will seem like a great idea. You think your comment will be seen by 238 million people, but in fact, it will not – it will be drowned in a sea of other comments.
You want to discover pockets of Instagram that are rising where there aren’t that many followers. Find a relevant hashtag, and search for these new pages, where new followers are coming in and like their posts and comment on them. Your comment will be on a page that may only have 1,000 followers, but if it’s growing it will have many more. And it will be on a page with people way more likely to engage with your own.
Instagram is all about the rise; discovering the growth that you can surf, so constantly be on the lookout for new hashtags and pages on the upswing (that are relevant to you) that you can feed your likes, follows and comments to.
As mentioned before, your goal is to prompt engagement with your page. You should post every single day, even twice a day to make sure your posts are always in people’s feeds, and post stories every day. The same hashtags you liked and commented in you should add into your posts. Each post can have a maximum of 50 hashtags, and each hashtag you choose should have no more than one million posts – if it has more than a million, it’s too large – remember, your post will be lost at sea.
With less than 10,000, you should ensure that it’s a relevant hashtag – some hashtags with less than 1,000 can be effective (if they’re super relevant).
Make an excel spreadsheet to list and organize all your hashtags, and ensure that you’re adding to them now and then. Do not use the same group of 50 for each post, mix them up. Instagram will grow wise to your tricks and punish you for it (lower engagement, potential suspension), so make sure to diversify.
And what separates success from failure here is quality posts. It’s subjective what a quality post is, but don’t spam. People are tired on social media of spam, they’ve had years of it, so really try and come up with original posts. Coming up with original content every day can be tough, but plan it out across the month, and engage with your followers too. Some examples: show them who runs the account with some selfies, wish them a happy Friday, ask them what they would like to see. Don’t be afraid to form a niche, and be patient – growing an account takes years.
Fake Followers & Paid Ads
There are illegitimate ways to gain fake followers, even for free – but it’s simply not worth it, especially in 2020. Instagram has had several crackdowns over the years to wipe fake followers from accounts. Most people are wise to it too, and they will be able to spot your fake page from a mile away, potentially harming your precious engagement. Fake followers are an artificial inflation and will do nothing to increase the engagement or the clout that your page will amass.
Paid ads are a legitimate way to do this and will gently increase the visibility of your page to non-followers and increase the priority of posts for people that do follow you. As before, don’t spam this, perhaps save it for a special post or one that you think people will want to see, like a grand opening or a new event. People want their interest to be gently piqued and feel as if they came to the page on their own accord.
If you remember nothing from this article, just research one thing, the Slim Jim Instagram account. Slim Jim is a meat stick brand in the US, which struggled despite its efforts and money to even reach 5,000 followers. It then discovered that a fan (Andy Hines) had made an account about his love of Slim Jims in his spare time and was soaring past 15,000 followers.
They were so stunned by this, they hired him to take control of their real account. And with no limits too: meaning the memes and jokes could flow freely. The account today has 1.1 million followers and has many brands attempting to copycat. The success was due to the fact that followers were not important to Andy Hines, instead, his focus on engagement, community and quality posts were, and the followers diligently gathered. Apply the same manner to your page.
This content is brought to you by Ashleigh Coran.